Living With Diabetes: Diabetic Foot Care

Two of the most important things you can do if you are diabetic are control your sugar and take care of your feet. Diabetes can cause a loss of sensation in your feet, which means you could step on something or a callus could form and you wouldn’t know unless you take the time to look at your feet. It can also cause limited blood flow, which complicates and lengthens the healing process.

Foot Care Tips

Those with diabetes also may have poor immune systems and can be more susceptible to infections. Left unchecked, calluses and injuries can lead to infected ulcers and ultimately to amputation. The good news is that amputation can be prevented by following these foot care tips.

  • Check your feet daily: At the end of the day when you take your shoes off, inspect your feet. ( you are not able to see the bottom of your feet, use a handled mirror. If you see any skin breakdown, including blisters or ulcers, stay off your feet and make an appointment to see you doctor. Continuing to walk on even small injuries can lead to larger injuries and wounds that are difficult to heal.
  • Early treatment: if you discover a wound on the bottom of your foot, see a doctor immediately to check for infection. If there is an infection, treatment with antibiotics is typically successful in early stages. If you continue to wait and walk on the wound, the infection could worsen and cause gangrene or bone infection.
  • Wear proper shoes and footwear: Diabetic shoes are extra deep and extra wide to protect your feet from pressure, and don’t have seams on the inside that cause friction. They also allow room for diabetic foot orthoses, which distribute pressure over the entire foot, preventing pressure points that may lead to skin breakdown. It is also a good idea to wear seamless, padded, moisture-wicking socks. (
  • Charcot: if you notice the shape of your arches changing, along with heat and redness at the arch, you may have a condition called Charcot, in which the bones of your feet break down. Left untreated, this can cause major deformity, which may lead to skin breakdown.

    If you experience these symptoms, set up an appointment with your doctor. They may recommend that you get a brace to help support your arch and prevent further breakdown and deformity.
  • Keep your skin dry: infections thrive in moist environments, so allow your shoes to air out and wear socks that wick away moisture.
  • Avoid going barefoot: wearing shoes will help prevent you from stepping on debris or getting small cuts and scrapes on your feet that could lead to infection.
  • Keep your nails clean and short: A fungal infection causes thickening of the toenails, and pressure on the top of the nail could lead to ulcers underneath, which are difficult to spot and treat and may lead to infection. (
  • Be careful of water temperature: when taking a bath, check the water temperature with your arm before stepping in. If you have loss of sensation in your feet, it’s easy to step into a bath and not realize you are actually burning your skin, which could leave you susceptible to infection.

If you are diabetic, it is extremely important to follow these tips to stay healthy and prevent any complications. Get into a regular routine of non-impact exercise, stop smoking, keep your sugar controlled, and get regular check-ups.